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Gov. Brown says some counties will require face coverings in public amid spike in COVID-19 cases

Governor Kate Brown announced Oregon's next steps on Wednesday after a spike in coronavirus cases caused state officials to pump the brakes on reopening.

Posted: Jun 17, 2020 3:07 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2020 3:20 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown announced on Wednesday that Oregon's next steps will include a requirement to wear face coverings in public for some counties following a spike in coronavirus cases over the past several weeks.

Brown and officials from the Oregon Health Authority issued a "yellow light" last Friday for several counties that were on the brink of entering a new phase of reopening. The Governor's Wednesday statement indicated that the new plans would include a resolution for some of those counties.

“I instituted the statewide pause because of the rising number of cases in both rural and urban communities," Brown said. "I did this to give public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and make adjustments to our reopening strategy."

The Oregon Health Authority has spent the intervening days looking at data from around the state, including the source of growth in new cases and hospitalizations, the results of contact tracing, and other metrics. Brown said that she had also been consulting with health experts, business leaders, and local elected officials.

Starting June 24 — the same day that the Oregon legislature returns for a special session — Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk, and Lincoln counties will require face coverings for people while at indoor public spaces. This includes grocery stores and other businesses.


RELATED: Oregon Supreme Court sides with Gov. Brown on COVID-19 restrictions


Multnomah County will be finally be approved to move into Phase I this Friday.

"While Multnomah County has seen an increase in new cases recently, the county has not experienced an uptrend in new hospital admissions, and overall hospitalizations remain well within capacity," Brown said.

According to Brown's statement, some counties will be grouped together as regional units for future reopening decisions. Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties — which encompass the Portland metro area — will be one such unit. Marion and Polk counties will also be treated as a unit, which includes the city of Salem.

"Both of these regions include a highly-connected urban area, making it difficult to monitor the disease based solely on the contours of county jurisdictional lines," Brown said. 

The entire tri-county region will remain in Phase 1 for at least 21 days after June 19 before the three counties together will become eligible for Phase 2, Brown continued.


RELATED: Oregon's Union County recommends residents return to Phase I following outbreak


"I know this impacts communities and businesses in Clackamas and Washington counties but, as we reopen our state, we must recognize how interconnected the metro area is," Brown said. “The next few weeks will be difficult, and we will be monitoring the data regularly. We are much better prepared than we were in early March. We have increased PPE, much more widespread testing, and many more contact tracers

“However, if hospitalizations spike too rapidly, if the capacity of our health care system is threatened, we will be forced to revert to stricter rules.

“Our entire ability to reopen and stay open is dependent on whether each of us follows basic health and safety protections. Stay home if you feel sick, wear a face covering, keep six feet of distance, avoid crowds, and wash your hands regularly. We truly are all in this together.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 10230

Reported Deaths: 215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah248869
Marion164848
Washington158620
Clackamas84525
Umatilla7576
Union3561
Lincoln3464
Deschutes2190
Lane2183
Malheur2061
Polk15912
Linn1579
Jackson1490
Yamhill1398
Jefferson1330
Klamath1301
Morrow1021
Benton945
Hood River930
Wasco911
Josephine551
Clatsop510
Douglas500
Coos420
Columbia390
Lake210
Tillamook140
Crook130
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman30
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 264681

Reported Deaths: 6373
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1150243487
Riverside19450479
Orange16854366
San Diego16726387
San Bernardino14922269
Imperial7039114
Alameda6855140
Fresno611077
Santa Clara5273161
Kern524582
Tulare4627136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento423669
San Francisco377650
Contra Costa366281
San Mateo3536108
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Marin271921
Stanislaus266045
Kings263432
Monterey206415
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer87711
San Luis Obispo7012
Yolo67726
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4573
Napa3764
San Benito2732
Sutter2523
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1545
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Glenn1220
Yuba1061
Tehama881
Lake871
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono451
Tuolumne430
Inyo331
Amador310
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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